‘New Hall’ lacks name with purpose, reason

Holly New

New Hall has one of the most unoriginal names for a residence hall.

Think about it: The other residence halls have legitimate names. We can tell they are actually named after someone. In fact, four of them are named after famous politicians: President Abraham Lincoln, Senator Stephen A. Douglas, President Ulysses S. Grant and Gov. Adlai E. Stevenson II. Neptune and Gilbert were both named after prominent faculty members Celine Neptune and Newell D. Gilbert.

Where does that leave New Hall?

Should we just assume the designers of that beautiful, 1000-bed complex left it with the most unoriginal name of the century?

“It’s dumb,” said Angelica Cruz, sophomore communication and political science major. “Because at some point, they’re gonna build another residence hall and have to call it ‘New New Hall.’”

Still, I decided there must be something behind that name. Who is this “New” person?

NIU wouldn’t just end its tradition of naming residence halls after important people. There must be someone with the last name of New important enough to have a residence hall named after them. I set out to find this person.

I started with the NIU directory. There is only one current student/employee with the last name of New, and it is me. I decided to broaden my search to see if there were any prominent community members with the last name of New. A quick White Pages search found there aren’t any News in the immediate DeKalb/Sycamore area.

I widened my search further to the United States, and according to the 2000 Census, there were 11,533 people with the last name New.

I was getting nowhere.

Whoever is behind New Hall’s name must not have only been really important, but also a secret. Who could this person be?

Oh my goodness. It’s me.

There is no other evidence of someone related to NIU with the last name of “New” than me. I realized I am evidently at the very center of my own scavenger hunt.

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

What did I do to earn such honorable standing? I’ve never saved a kitten from a tree or helped an old lady across the street. I’ve never rescued a child from a burning building or even gotten a 4.0 GPA.

What have I done to merit such recognition, to be named after a building where about 1,000 students call home?

The answer is nothing. The truth is, New Hall isn’t named after anyone.

“I guess they didn’t have any original names for it,” said sophomore undecided major Gloria Diaz.

NIU must have been so wrapped up in making the building beautiful it didn’t schedule in any time for the naming portion of the process. I’m assuming NIU figured that as long as it didn’t build any more residence halls, the name could stay.

After all, it is the “New” Hall.